Technology is changing the way people interact. Because technology is the middle-man of many people’s interactions, we are actually able to record and analyze these engagements. At the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, we are interested in engagements that occur between two sides of an actual or potential conflict. Conflicts almost always occur across difference boundaries. These differences include nationality, race, ethnicity, gender, geography, political affiliation, age, and all the other group identities we create for ourselves and each other.
Here’s the exciting thing: What this means is that for the first time in human history, we can really measure this stuff.
Technology mediated engagement creates peace data, where Person A does a unilateral, measurable action across a difference boundary with Person B. For example, “poking” on Facebook is a positive interaction between two individuals, the quality and frequency of which can be measured. This type of interaction, called a Minimum Acceptable Peaceful Interaction (MAPI) generates a data trace.
Peace data is a frequently recurring data structure which allows us to measure peace:
• At very high resolution
• Across massive sample sizes
• With extreme precision
To see an example of peace data, you can look at the pilot we did with Facebook at peace.facebook.com.
Why does peace data matter? Another benefit of having technology as the middleman is that once we have the data, we can represent it on a map, begin to analyze and measure it, and design for peace. We will be able to “foresee” possible tension by early identification of a fall in interactions, and therefore take preventive actions before violence occurs.
For the first time, we have the ability to measure tensions across conflict boundaries, in real time, with extreme precision--and display them in almost real-time. We are establishing partnerships with leading technology companies in Silicon Valley which have relevant data concerning cross-boundary engagement.
Another outcome of this project will be the establishment of a peace industry. Many organizations benefit from reduced global violence, organizations like governments and banks to schools and local businesses. These organizations will create a demand for peace data, which will encourage more technology companies to look for and create ways their business can contribute to this emerging industry.
The goal of this project is to show everyone how their individual positive interactions, big and small, can build peace across all human conflict boundaries.
The Peace Innovation Lab is passionate about collaboration--since collaboration is the best proxy metric we have for sustainable peace--and believes that achieving a global peace industry is only possible through collective effort. They have asked the jovoto community to share their creative input at an early stage to help define a name for this new, open-community peace mapping project. This will be the first of a number of projects that will help shape this groundbreaking initiative.
Stanford University is located between San Francisco and San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley. It is recognized as one of the world's leading research and teaching institutions. Leland and Jane Stanford founded the University to "promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization." Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and preparing students for leadership in today's complex world.